Chapter 7 – Emergence

As I enter the catacombs tonight, another cheap glass of red wine waits – but for some reason, I don’t take it. When did I last do that? I have no idea.

I head downstairs to the bar. The usual crowd is hanging around. It doesn’t look like the band will play tonight. As I head to my seat, I notice a glimmer – something flickering in the far corner where the Dead Friends usually congregate. I don’t remember seeing that before – so I head over to investigate.

As I get closer, the glimmer continues. When I arrive, I am perplexed – a small mirror is sitting on the floor propped up against the wall and facing the bar. I look at the reflection – and no matter how I move the mirror, the reflection is me – and all the demons behind me. How did this get here? Who put this here? Why is this here?

I look to the demons – they are all awake looking down from their cells. I cannot tell what their expressions are tonight – I just see the eyes staring down. Hate’s eyes are larger than usual – I didn’t know that was possible. Ugliness looks like it wants to laugh, but no noise comes out. I look around the bar – everyone is watching me. The Lost Loves aren’t doing anything – not their usual chatter – just looking. The Dead Friends are all facing me – one even has eyes. Who the hell is that? Even the reflection of the spotlights on the statues has a different hue tonight. The energy of the entire room is different. What is going on here?

I take the mirror and walk to the middle of the room near the stage. Holding the mirror, I sit on the dirty floor. I am tense all over, wondering what this is all about. I feel the tension of everyone surrounding me.

I hold up the mirror and look at my reflection. It is not easy to see as the mirror is small. As the night is already weird, I pull on the sides – and the mirror expands though it doesn’t get heavier in my hands. As the mirror grows, the image gets distorted. The demons behind me look different, I look different – but I don’t know how, I don’t know why, I don’t understand what this means. I continue to pull the sides, and when the mirror reaches 3 feet wide, it breaks in half – one in my left hand and one in my right – though there is little weight. I look in both mirrors, and the images continue to distort my image as I look back. I put one mirror down and stand up with the other. I expand it’s height – expand it to my height – the mirror remains light in my hand. When the mirror is just larger than me, it breaks again. As the height is more cumbersome, I struggle – I struggle until I realize the mirrors will stand on their own – stand on the floor with no support. Fascinating. I look behind me. All the demons continue to stare – Hate especially. Hate looks agitated. I never saw Hate show any emotion at all – nothing but that endless stare.

Something spurns me further. I take the mirrors, expand them, allow them to split, stand them up, and continue. When done, I have 27 mirrors in all – 3 rows deep in a semi-circle.

I look back again at the demons – their stare continues. All watching with deep intent – deep interest – do I see a hint of concern? I am surprised they haven’t left their cells to interrupt my work – but they don’t. They just hold onto the bars of their cells and watch. But what I notice is the silence – complete silence except for my breath and my heartbeat. Why is my breath deepened? Why is my heart racing? Why the hell am I so nervous?

I turn back to the mirrors and sit in the middle of the semi-circle. I can see myself in each mirror. Twenty-seven images of me – just me – staring back at myself. But something shifts – shifts on mirror right in front of me. The image is Jealousy. None of the other images have changed – just the one. Then the two on each side shift. One is Misery, and the other is Bitterness. The next four shift – Suicide, Loneliness, Failure, and Obsession – all staring back at me. I look back at the cells. The demons in the mirrors remain in their cells. I look back at the mirrors. They are almost completely full – full of the demons. Only a couple remain of me staring back at myself. Then I look around, and as I look at all the mirrors, they are completely filled – all but one – one that just remains me – all the demons are there – all but one – Hate remains absent. Then the mirrors shift again – slowly, all the reflections change mirrors – demons fading out from one and emerging into another. I blink, and the shift occurs again – demons fading out and emerging in new mirrors. The shifting continues, and slowly, the pace quickens – quickens faster and faster to where the images flash for a brief moment before moving onto the next. As the speed increases, the images blend and merge into each other. Watching becomes mesmerizing – mesmerizing to watch, mesmerizing to follow, mesmerizing to concentrate.

As the images flash and shift 3x per second, something happens. The demon’s faces become distorted – they aren’t just the demon faces – there is something else – something else, but with the constant shifting, I cannot isolate the distortion.

I don’t know what I am watching. All I know is the images continue to shift; I cannot identify the distortion. I just sit there watching in utter confusion. And I still hear nothing – the catacombs are completely silent. The silence is creepy.

Suddenly I grow tired – my mind exhausted from watching the mirrors, the demons shifting from mirror to mirror, and the frustration of why I cannot pick out the distortion. I want to get up and leave the catacombs – but I’m just too exhausted. I get up, walk over to the couch and lay down and fall asleep.